Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going natural with your Easter candy

I asked the question on my Facebook page "I'm trying to find more natural candy alternatives for my son's Easter basket. We recently found out he's sensitive to artificial dyes. I would love to hear your suggestions."

We discovered last year that artificial dyes add to my son's hyperactivity so we began to limit artificial dyes where we could. Since we can't control everything we abide by the 80/20 rule on this one meaning he'll get Peeps in his basket - pretty much the only non-natural candy he'll get. The kid loves Peeps and when Easter rolls around, he starts asking for them when we go to the store. 

Here is what I purchased this year:

Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks: These are a favorite to take to school. A little known secret is Target has the best price on them.

Moonstruck Solid Dark Chocolate Calico Bunny: Not organic BUT local to us, Moonstruck is located in Portland, Oregon and has a whole line of yummy Easter candies

Natural Vines by American Licorice: Vegan and made with no dyes and artificial flavorings, Ben loves the strawberry flavor made from beets and strawberries. 

Divine Chocolate Bunnies:  Free from artificial flavorings, colorings and preservatives and made with Fair trade ingredients and non GMO. 

Surfsweet Organic Jellybean: These candies are flavored with fruit juice, 97% organic, non GMO and free of corn syrup!

Mini Plush Angler Fish from Etsy: Angler fish are currently my son's favorite fish. They are pretty tough to find in a cuddly version! Leave it to Etsy to have exactly what I need.

Here's the finished product:

All of the candy was on sale at Whole Foods so it didn't cost me an arm and a leg -- even the Annie's snacks were on special due to Easter.

I can hardly wait until Easter morning, mainly because I want to see his reaction to the angler fish.

As for the baby, I didn't make her a basket. Ben will have to share this year.

What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Happy Birthday to my sweet EmmyLu!


Happy 1st Birthday, sweet baby girl. You've brought so much joy to our little family this year. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for you!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta Cheese

I've been taking recipes in my Pinterest boards and modifying them to make them less calories. I use whole wheat pasta, fat free feta and less olive oil and this dish still had a punch of flavor! 


Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta Cheeseadapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled (I used fat free)
3 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
6 tablespoons olive oil (I only used 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, minced

Directions
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done (refer to package for appropriate time). Drain. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coloring Easter Eggs redeux

You might remember this post where I thought my almost three year old would be totally excited to color Easter eggs. Turns out, his interest was all of 2 minutes. Fast forward two years later and I have a very eager almost 5 year old bugging me for a week "Mommy, when are we coloring eggs?" Off to Whole Foods we went and picked up Confection Craft Dip + Decorate.

The kit includes four powdery dyes made with beets, cabbage, spinach and annatto, egg white glitter, a brush and a paper filled with decorations to color and cut out for your eggs.

First, we hard boiled the eggs the day before. The best way to prepare hard boiled eggs is to put your eggs in a pan, completely submerge in water, bring to a boil and then remove from the stove top and cover for 12-15 minutes. This works like a charm every time.


Now comes the fun part! Mix the colors with 1/4 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon dye (red dye will need 1/4 tsp. vinegar).


Gently drop your eggs in the dye and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. Red will need a bit longer. 
Gently stir once in a while too. Remember, brown eggs will produce a jewel tone so we always do a bit of brown and white eggs.

Here was the almost final product. I will say, the red color smelled like beets and the blue dye like cabbage so there was no denying it was a natural product. My favorite were the blue eggs (just like two years ago).


My son had a lot of fun cutting out the eyes, mouth and other items (all by himself, I might add) that were included. He made "Angry Birds" eggs with the cut outs.



The kit retails for $12.99 and I found it at Whole Foods in Bend, Oregon. I would buy the kit again as it was simple to use and produced the results we wanted in using a natural product. I will say, I was quite disappointed in the "glitter" as it just formed a thick paste on the eggs. 

Next up, I will need to fill the Easter basket with natural choices of Easter candy. I know this is going to be a challenge because Peeps are a tradition in our house.

Any recommendations on natural candy for Easter? 



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Healthy recipe: Chicken salad stuffed avocados

I saw the recipe for this on Pinterest and I thought to myself ... that looks good and I can make it healthier.

Using that recipe as the inspiration, I made a few modifications and went in for the taste. It. Was. Amazing. And my husband --he loved it. And everyone on instragram wanted the recipe so here it is!



Chicken salad stuffed avocados
by Working Mom Goes Green

2 servings

1 cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup of red onions, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
1-2 tablespoons reduced fat mayo
1 teaspoon of dried herbs of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
2 avocados, split in half, remove the seed

Mix together everything but the avocados. Half the recipe and stuff avocados.

Note: The nutrition facts have the calorie count for 2 tablespoons of mayo and Greek yogurt but you could get away with less of both items and make it even less calories.

Nutrition facts:
Calories: 453
Calories from Fat  292
Fat  32.4g
Saturated Fat  4.4g
Cholesterol 50mg
Sodium 247mg
Total Carbohydrates 23.7g
Dietary Fiber 15.2g
Sugars  5.4g
Protein  23.5g

They will look like this when you're doing eating them ... I guarantee it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meatless Monday: Broccoli, lemon pasta

File this under a few ingredients that takes under 20 minutes that packs a punch of flavor.

You know my ongoing struggle with making dinner when I get home. If it's not planned out, we're eating takeout pizza, grilled cheese or heading the door out to eat.

Since accepting the Shaklee Blogger 180 Challenge, I need to plan plan plan as I'm tracking all my calories on MyFitnessPal since I'm trying to stay under 1,800 calories a day. 18 days, I've been doing pretty fabulous with all of my awesome planning.

I got this glorious dish from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and it is super simple. I use whole wheat pasta (I have trained my family to eat whole wheat pasta so there is never a complaint) and add just a small amount of parm cheese to keep the calories down.



Broccoli, Lemon Pasta
by Everyday Food

Ingredients
1 lb Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice)
1 12 oz bag of frozen broccoli
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
olive oil
lemon, zested and juice
parmesan (how ever much you like)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil penne 6 minutes less than al dente; add broccoli florets, and cook until penne is al dente. Drain; return to the pot, and toss with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, some olive oil, the zest and juice of a lemon, salt and pepper, and plenty of parmesan.

Sidenote: This recipe is really good with frozen asparagus or even fresh just boiled the last two minutes of the penne cooking. Also, another great addition would be red pepper flakes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Earth Mama Angel Baby

After my daughter was born, Earth Mama Angel Baby reached out to me and asked me to review some of their products. This was a no-brainer because I LOVE THEIR STUFF.

They sent me some cool stuff and I used it BUT I got a new job and I was overwhelmed and I am now JUST getting to the review.

I love EMAB because they are located right outside of Portland, Oregon -- just a over the mountains from me. Plus, their products are all natural, organic and guaranteed zero toxins. It's safe to say, I don't have to look at the label. I also have given my earth conscious new mom's-to-be gifts of EMAB.

Some of my favorite products of EMAB include the following:

Angel Baby Lotion:  I loved this lotion with my son (and with my daughter too). I didn't discover it until summer of 2010 when I started this blog. A local boutique baby shop sold it and I picked it up on a recommendation from another friend. It smells so good, you could eat it. And if you put it on your baby, you'll want to keep sniffing your baby (and take a few bites --KIDDING). This lotion does expire so you'll want to use it before then.

Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash: You won't have to worry about icky toxins BUT be warned this isn't a tear free shampoo. Be sure to protect baby's eyes. This is in my bath time rotation for both kids. It comes in a convenient pump!

Angel Baby Bottom Balm:  I didn't discover this until they sent this to me to try. It's now our go to go to balm for diaper rash. It smells amazing and according to their website it's "The only balm made with organic olive oil infused with a proprietary blend of naturally antibacterial and antifungal organic herbs, shea butter and pure essential oils, soothes thrush, itchy bug bites, scrapes, chicken pox, minor rashes, and burns." When I ran out, I headed to Whole Foods and asked for Butt Balm. I got a lot of laughs.

Natural Nipple Butter: I have to admit, I never had to use this for it's intended use BUT I did use it as a lip balm and to help soothe my son's chapped (face) cheeks due to the cold winter months. It worked like a charm. It also tastes like chocolate.

Now for the giveaway. I have the following:

Mama-to-be Tea Sampler and Organic Milkmaid Tea PLUS I will purchase a $30 e-gift card for you to spend. 

To enter to win, you'll need to do the following:
  1. Check out Earth Mama Angel Baby's Website and tell me in my comments which product(s) you'd like to try and why.
  2. Like Earth Mama Angel Baby on Facebook and leave that in the comments.
  3. Follow them on Twitter and leave that in the comments. 
  4. Like Working Mom Goes Green's Facebook page and tell me in the comments. 
On March 22 at noon Pacific time, I'll draw a name via random.org.

Now, I realize that this giveaway is kinda limited which is why I threw in the $30 e-gift card -- I love this product THAT much that will pay out of my own pocket for you to enjoy it. If you win, you can gift the tea away to a pregnant friend. She'll thank you, trust me.

Good luck!

Some of the items in this review were given to me at no-charge by Earth Mama Angel. The views and opinions are my own. 



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DIY: Cooking dried black beans

If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you know, we eat a lot of beans -- white, black, kidney. Beans are a great substitute for meat as they're pretty protein rich and filling. I have always bought beans in the cans -- cans which could contain BPA. Since we're a family slowing going green, it was time to make the switch.

Did you know that buying 1 lb of dried beans and cooking your own yields six servings of beans versus the cost of one can? Also cooking your own dried beans lets your control the sodium too! I was inspired by one of my favorite green and frugal bloggers Sara Tetreault after reading her post to further investigate how to eat more beans and save money by cooking and freezing my own.

I didn't want to labor over the stove all day so I searched and searched for an easy method -- and I found it in using a crock pot from Crockpot365.

So what do you do? You'll need:
1 pound bag of beans (please note her special instructions on kidney beans)
water
at least a 4 quart crockpot
food scale (for weighing them into 15 oz containers)
containers (I needed 5)
Enough time to soak overnight, plus 8 hours

Here's what you need to do:
Rinse beans and pick out the bad ones. Put beans in the crockpot and cover with all the beans, adding 2 inches of water over the beans. Don't turn it on and let the beans soak overnight.  In the morning, rinse the beans and dump the water.

Put the beans back into your crockpot and cover with enough water to  cover the beans with 3 inches. Then cook on low for 8 hours until they are tender. It's OK if you have leftover water --dump it and drain the beans.



Cool them off and then use your food scale to weigh 15 ounces in each container. They will last a week in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer


I have now done this with white and black beans AND I will never buy another can of beans AGAIN. It was that easy.

What's your favorite bean dish?




Monday, March 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins


In my pursuit of going meatless on Mondays and during the week, I've happened to discover the lovely sweet potato. It's NOT just for Thanksgiving anymore.

Since the weekdays are usually left for something quick and easy, I roasted these babies on Sunday and prepared them to be frozen  by putting them on a tray in the freezer for an hour. They were then frozen enough to put in a plastic bag and store for later use.

Here are some tips on this dish:
  • after roasting the sweet potatoes, let them cool 10 mins before scooping all flesh out. 
  • don't scoop all of the flesh out! Leave just a little so the potato keeps it's shape
  • if you have a stand up mixer like a Kitchen Aid, use it to mix up the sweet potato mixture
  • if you freeze these for later, they will last six months
  • to prepare after being frozen, thaw out for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. 
  • if still frozen when you go to bake, raise the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 30 mins
Did we love these? I loved them but for some reason, my husband thought they were super spicy so maybe next time, I'd skip the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They froze and baked pretty well  and paired with a salad, made a very filling meal!

Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins
Inspired by Back on Pointe

Serving size is one potato skin

Ingredients
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced or pureed
1 ounce light cream cheese (I used Laughing Cow Cheese)
1/4 cup light sour cream (I used Greek Yogurt)
1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons shredded cheese (Pepperjack, Cheddar, Colby Jack… anything will work)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.

Saute the onion in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Set aside.
Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scrape the flesh of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. Sometimes leaving a thin layer of potato inside of the skins helps them hold together better.

Mix the flesh of the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, chipotle peppers, and salt. You can use a mixer or just a spoon, depending on how soft the potatoes are. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.

Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. (see above for freezer instructions)

Follow my Healthy Foods and Meatless Dishes on Pinterest.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hidden dangers in your nursery

Here's a great infographic from Healthy Child, Healthy World on the hidden dangers in your baby's nursery


Monday, March 4, 2013

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas

I will admit, I was a little worried about dinner time when it comes to the Shaklee 180 Blogger Challenge. Breakfast and lunch are a piece of cake since the smoothies and bars Shaklee provided me are filling and flavorful -- but dinner time, I need to please my husband too.

My husband will tell you that I'm a good cook and we have been eating healthier over the years so I had nothing to worry about so when I told him we were having black bean spinach enchiladas  he looked at me funny.

He loves my mother's recipe which calls for ground beef and two cans of red sauce but this recipe has you making your own sauce and I will NEVER buy canned again. I can promise you that! The only thing I did modify was adding a few dashes of  red hot sauce in the sauce.

This recipe was a hit. And one was filling enough for me too (paired with a large salad of romaine lettuce)! The husband said "please please make this again." We had leftovers and were fighting over who got to eat them.


Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas
Adapted from The Garden Grazer

Makes 8 servings
Ingredients

The Sauce
3 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
dash of hot red pepper sauce
Salt/pepper


Enchiladas
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (fresh from dried I made and had stored in the freezer)
1 1/2 cups corn (I used canned)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
3 cups shredded cheese (I used Lite Mexican blend from TJ's)
8 whole wheat or flour tortillas (I used flour)

Directions
Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper and red pepper sauce to taste, and set aside.

Saute the spinach in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted.
In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, corn, green onions, 2 tsp. cumin, and cilantro.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish, and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom.
Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions (optional).

Nutrition Facts
Calories
262
Calories from Fat
71
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
7.9g
12%
Saturated Fat
2.5g
13%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
9mg
3%
Sodium
649mg
27%
Total Carbohydrates
34.9g
12%
Dietary Fiber
6.1g
24%
Sugars
3.6g
Protein
17.1g

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weigh in: Day 1

Well, here's the big reveal ... my weight:
Weigh in: Day 1

My goals? Size 12 or 170 pounds -- that's almost 50 pounds! I know this won't be overnight -- this could take a year but I'm in it for the long haul.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Shaklee Journey begins


It has been almost a year since my daughter, EmmyLu was born. (she'll be one years old in 26 days) With my son, I went from 190 lbs to 240 lbs. After about 9 months, I got my weight down to 210 lbs and plateaued. I did everything I could -- ran, watched what I ate, starved myself. Nothing helped. I gave up. I still exercised but not as much. I didn't watch what I ate. I also realized that I was a big time emotional eater as well. Coming to terms with all of this has not been easy.

Off and on, I've been dealing with high blood pressure as well. It was suspected that I had White Coat Syndrome -- where the site of a doctor made my blood pressure spike. My doctor also suspected that stress from my job was also a big time factor.

3/26/12 right before I left for the hospital
With EmmyLu, I hardly gained more than 10 lbs during my pregnancy. I fit in my pre-pregnancy jean no problem. When I left the hospital, I actually weighed less than what I started out with before I was pregnant. I then proceeded to use the excuse "I can eat whatever I want because I'm breastfeeding."  My job change also helped my blood pressure issue but it was still borderline. The doctor suspected if I dropped weight, it wouldn't be an issue anymore.

At the end of the year, I decided there needed to be a change. I need to be healthy for myself and my two young kids. I needed to exercise and eat better. Time was an issue. Working out after work was out of the question as I normally don't get home until 6 pm. My options were lunch time or early morning.

I joined a local Crossfit gym. I had plenty of friends singing the praises of Crossfit and since I'd much rather lift weights and do group exercise than any other, I thought it would be a great fit for me. Guess what -- I love it. I've been going since January 3 three times a week. Next week, I'm starting 4 days a week.

Yes, I'm usually the slowest and weakest in the class, but the coaches and other members don't mind. They cheer me on and help me with my form. They are there for me.

In January, I also applied to be a Shaklee Blogger. Out of 500 bloggers, I was one of 90 picked to receive free products to help me with this journey. I was drawn to Shaklee because they believe in being eco-friendly, don't use GMO in their products and their products are free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. The program consists of two shakes as meals, healthy snacks in between and a balance meal at dinner. They call it 180 because you have 90 days to lose your weight on their program and then 90 days to prove you can keep it off. A total lifestyle change -- not a quick fix.

Shakes are easy for me as I struggle with breakfast and lunch anyway! I usual and worrying about everyone but myself when I walk out the door in the morning and forget my breakfast and lunch. Since I was already drinking smoothies, the breakfast part won't be a big deal for me. Lunch will be a cinch now and I can spend that hour taking a walk or blogging more.

So here are my stats ...
Chest 43 inches
Waist 41inches
Hips 48inches
Arms 14 inches

And this is what I look like ... you've been warned ... I'm going to take these photos in the same jeans every 30 days.


Why no weight? I have had no time to buy a scale so I will post that tonight!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me know.


This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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